Saturday 15 June 2024

An Anglo-Irish Lord

Today sees a return of the Irish on the blog. Wargames Illustrated have recently released a figure of "Great Darcy of the Pale", and what is great about the miniature is that Darcy is depicted in a very distinctive Anglo-Irish style of armour. It is a harness in a style that would have been worn by the Anglo-Irish Lords who ruled over parts of Ireland in the 15th and 16th centuries as they warred and raided with one another and rival Gaelic Irish chieftains.

The Anglo-Irish were the descendants of the English and Welsh who had settled in Ireland during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The term is an anachronism as at the time these colonists called themselves "English" or "the English of Ireland", although the Great Earl of Kildare used the term "Englishe Irysshe" when reporting to the king's council in 1496. From surviving grave effigies we know that by the 1500s a very distinctive type of armour had developed amongst the English of Ireland and it is great to see a miniature that has been based on these. For some examples of this type of harness have a look at the effigies of Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond,, James Butler,%209th%20Earl%20of%20Ormond%20001L.jpg and James Schorthals

The recent Helion book on Irish armies in the 16th Century, "Of Kerns and Gallowglasses", has an artists reconstruction of an Irish chieftain in a harness of a smiliar style which can be viewed here: From these images it is clear that the new sculpt of Darcy of the Pale is a pretty accurate representation of the style with a high bascinet and visor, a large mail pisane protecting his neck and a coat of plates made of horizontal lames of plate to protect the torso. I would have liked to have seen the besagews laced onto the mail pisane, as this was a distinctive characteristic of these armours as seen in all of the effigies in the links above. Who knows maybe another manufacturer will make some figures based on these effigies in the future?

Great Darcy or William Darcy was a notoriously tall follower of the Earl of Kildare, famed for carrying the pretender to the English throne, Lambert Simnel, on his shoulders for his "coronation" in Dublin in 1487 and for being felled by a MacSweeney gallowglass in the battle of Knockdoe in 1504. Darcy's life was saved by the Baron of Navan, John Nangle. In the photos I have chosen to show the miniature as the Earl of Desmond, standing in front of the Desmond banner, although the flag can be changed so the figure can be used to represent various Anglo-Irish Lords. His gallowglass constable can be seen discussing the upcoming raid or battle with him, whilst a less well armed Anglo-Irishman holds his banner.

The last set of photos show a unit of kern that I finished recently. They are a mix of figures including Crusader, Old Glory and Antediluvian miniatures as well as some from the Flags of War Border Reivers range: These Flags of War figures are great and whilst I will probably base some of them up individually I couldn't resist including four of them in the new Kern unit as can be seen below.

The FitzGerald Earl of Desmond

An Anglo-Irish Lord in his distinctive harness with a large mail pisane collar, high bascinet helmet and a coat of plates to protect the body.

Early 16th century kern.

Kern with targes, javelins and axes.

Kern with bows and javelins.

Kern with bows


Sunday 2 June 2024

More Sipahis...

The Ottoman army continues to grow with the addition of another unit of sipahis. These figures are from the excellent Assault Group Ottoman range and are meant to be Sipahis of the Porte,, but with a few changes they are being fielded as standard sipahis or "Timariots". "Sipahi" was the word for soldier in Persian. A "Timar" was an area of land allotted to the sipahi, hence the term "Timariot". The land allotted was intended to provide the sipahi with an income and in return he would provide military service when required. Wealthier Timariots were accompanied by "Cebelus" who were additional men at arms. 

I have already completed a unit of the more elite Sipahis of the Porte or Kapikulu Süvarileri as seen here: and did not want more for the army. The figures in this new unit come with barded horses but on request Pete at The Assault Group very kindly provided all the figures with unbarded Ottoman horses instead.  Of course there have been a few weapon swaps. As the original figures don't come with bows and quivers, which were carried by the sipahis, I have added bows and quivers from Essex Miniatures. The photo of the unit from behind shows these additions. 

These are really great figures, I particularly love the large Hungarian style shields and all the different helmets they are wearing. From Győző Somogyi's images in "Warriors of the Hungarian Frontier 1526-1686" it is clear that by the mid 16th century Hungarian hussars looked pretty much identical to these sipahis and I am tempted to do another set in the future as such. With Christian motifs on the shields and pennons bearing the St Georges's Cross they would make a superb unit of hussars for the mid 1500s.

The final set of photos show all of the sipahis in a block behind a local Sanjak-bey and some kettle drummers. They are mix of Assault Group, Essex, Old Glory and Warfare miniatures and form quite a formidable array when they are all set up together. Now I just need to do some sipahis who are skirmishing...

16th century Ottoman Sipahis.

28mm Sipahis from The Assault Group

Ottoman Sipahis

A view of the unit from behind, the bows and quivers are from Essex Miniatures and have been added to the figures.

A force of Ottoman Sipahis

The Sipahis follow the Sanjak-bey and kettle drummers.

Fifty three Ottoman cavalry.